Thursday, July 23, 2009


Kids enjoying the No-Mo-Kemo par-tay!

So, three and a half years ago (November 29 will be 4 years), my dear fried Lisa had a tremendous shock. She and her husband Denny were expecting their fourth child in less than a month when their youngest son, James complained of a sore arm. Being that James was, at the time, the youngest and that Thomas and Avery, his older brother and sister, can be pretty rowdy, Lisa thought, "hmm ... better take him to the doctor. He might have a fracture or something." So to the doctor they went. But the day did not go as she had thought. Instead of a diagnosis of broken arm, they got the diagnosis of cancer. James, who was just about to turn 3, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblasitc Leukemia. (Read more about his diagnosis and treatment here).

Lisa and I had known each other for several years, as we'd attended church together. But it wasn't until I was married and a mom that we had an opportunity to really get to know one another when we did a Beth Moore Bible Study with some other sweet girls from church. James and Dylan were buddies in Sunday School.

Over the months following James' diagnosis, I saw first-hand God's grace through Lisa and her family, as well as our church family. Despite James' sickness, she (super-pregnant!) and Denny always had a smile and an unfailing confidence in God's healing power. They knew that God had brought them to just the right doctors who knew just the things to say and do, not only to heal James but to reassure his parents and siblings. And our church family rallied. I remember distinctly that via e-mail we asked Lisa, "What can we do?" and she sent a reply with a list of chores: Sweep the back porch, disinfect the house, need help picking up Thomas and Avery ... All of the things that as a mom and wife she was doing everyday had been put on hold during this time of hospital visits, chemo and the birth of Baby Amber that December. I'm sure that all of the responsibilities of motherhood and wife-dom seemed overwhelming and sometimes not very important in the face of this life-altering disease. Such a scary word: Cancer.

God's response to Lisa and Denny's faithfulness was awe-inspiring. From the love showered on their family by the community at large to the love their family showed in return ... and finally, James' healing ... On Friday, July 17, this community of family and friends was together to celebrate the end of James' chemo and his remission at James' No-Mo-Kemo Party at Lisa's parents' home. We got there on Friday evening to a crowd of friends, neighbors, relatives ... and the kids! Oh, boy. James with his blonde surfer hair (just a little too long over his collar - oh, so handsome!) and his brother and sisters, running through grass, swinging, sliding, eating delicious foods ... healthy and happy.

It is often hard from day-to-day to remember that God is not only all-knowing and all-powerful, but that He is also all-loving. On our worst days, He loves us more than we could ever dream ... and when we fall down and forget to believe, He waits patiently for us to seek His forgiveness and all-sheltering love. Through the last four years, I have watched Lisa and Denny keep-on-keeping on, but not of their own strength or will - but because they new the love and peace that comes from knowing their Heavenly Father. Knowing them as I do, I have no doubts that were the story to have ended any other way, they would still be seeking God's will in the midst of the storm ... but for James, the story is just beginning - he's six years old with the world ahead of him and the Lord ready to carry him ...

from Lisa's last post on James' CaringBridge journal:

In Exodus 15:26, God introduces Himself, "I am the Lord, who heals you." This word heal means to mend by stitching, to repair thouroughly, to make whole. I ask for prayer for the children and their parents who are still struggling on earth with leukemia. I know that God will still heal them in His way NO MATTER WHAT happens to their physical bodies.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Status Update: Brooke can't access Facebook

Last summer while Mike was in Reno, my friend Katie said to me, "blah blah blah FACEBOOK" to which I responded, "Facebook? Oh, no, I don't have a facebook". Shock went across her face (Why? I mean, I don't have a cell phone, cable or high-speed internet so why be shocked over the lack of a facebook account? I dunno).
But shocked she was, and said, "Brooke, you MUST get a facebook account - you'll love it!" And so, I did. I started a facebook account. And I must admit to being, well, addicted.
I found myself posting status updates that read like this:
Brooke is "happy the sun is shining"
Brooke will "not wash dishes until DHEC says she must"
Brooke "likes quiet"
Brooke "hates poison ivy/sumac/oak"
And so-on and so-forth.

Eventually the new wore off as with most new toys. I was still checking my "Wall" and uploading pics with great regularity, but my statuses were pretty stagnant (ex: Brooke is "glad it's the weekend").

But then the unthinkable happened. Our server crashed and the IT folks decided to blame facebook (ie: all the apps & quizzes everyone was doing when they weren't doing work) and block facebook from our server. So, from now on, I can only check my facebook from home when I can pirate a neighbor's wireless connection. I can't even respond to people posting messages on my Wall or making a Friend Request.
So for all of you out there waiting to be my FB friend, keep waiting. Eventually I'll break down & let Mike have his way with the wireless router or what-not.

Until then ...I'm not pressing IGNORE, I'm just unavailable.

Status: Brooke is off to Shipwreck Cove with the kids ... will post pics later.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Loving your neighbor and all that ...

Pictured Above: A neighbor who moved recently.

We love our neighbors. All of them. Even the ones we don't know. We love that right across the street is a little church and that said church is packed come Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday nights. It's nice to wave at people you don't know. It's nice that the youth like to sell hotdogs on Saturdays and that the Bloodmobile pulls up bright & early one Sunday each quarter.

But what we don't like is that the parking lot of the church has become the place to be if you're going to fight or threaten to kill someone. Yep, you read that right. A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of a phone conversation with another neighbor, I said, "Do you hear something outside?" "Yep," she said. Being that I'm the nosiest neighbor ever, I opened the front door and walked out on the front porch to hear more of this *ahem* conversation. It was after 10 p.m. Most people were abed, so not disturbed. But not me or Amanda. We were witness to a down-right ugly, worthy of an episode of Cops fight - right across the street, in the church parking lot. There was hitting, kicking, name-calling, police calling (by Amanda, thank you very much!), arm-breaking, and the coup de grace, running form the police by Leroy.

And that my friends, is why we don't have cable, Direct TV or DishNetwork. We have Cops episodes being filmed in our own front yard at least monthly. What more could a girl want?

A pool. Of course. And so good neighbor Amanda (who does not fight with her husband in the front yard, scream at him, punch him or hit him, kick his car door in, etc.) and her sweet, kind, husband Larry obliged. Right now the pool is filling up. I can see it from my kitchen window (refer to above note about my nosiness).

Wouldn't you like to be my neighbor too?